Kings Point, NY –The USMMA women's basketball team chipped away at a 20 point Goucher advantage but the Mariners final possession did not go as scripted Saturday afternoon in a 62-59 setback against Goucher. Sara Ellenberger (Phoenix, AZ) added a season high 10 points while Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL) had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with eight steals. Sharnell Huff played all 40 minutes for the Gophers and dropped in a game high 25 points.
Goucher (6-14, 2-8 Landmark) had all the momentum early and built an 11-0 cushion over the opening 5:35 of action. Rebecca Resor (Bay St. Louis, MS) accounted for the first seven USMMA points as the home side cut the deficit to 14-7. Resor finished the afternoon with a team high 15 points and the Mariners trailed 38-24 at halftime.
Merchant Marine (4-15, 0-10 Landmark) pulled to within four points with 5:01 to play in regulation when Ellenberger knocked down a 12-foot jumper. Goucher extended its edge to eight points but Kelsey Hofmann (Adel, IA) hit a pair of free throws and Kristina Walz (Manona, IA) forced down a layup to make it 61-57 with 1:21 remaining.
USMMA came up with a defensive stop on the next possession and VanDerWal drew a foul on the offensive rush. The junior guard buried both free throws and Goucher took its final 30 second timeout. Huff missed a jumper for Goucher but came up with her own rebound to force the Mariners to foul. She would only make the front end of the ensuing one-and-one, giving the Gophers a 62-59 lead.
Hofmann misfired on a potential game-tying three and Taje Burston hauled-in the loose ball for Goucher. However, she would miss the front end of the one-and-one with USMMA's Julie Mall (Littlestown, PA) grabbing one of her 11 rebounds and Head Coach Matt Dempsey calling timeout with 9.3 seconds remaining.
The Mariners were unable to execute out of the huddle and Alexandra Winfree (Millstone, NJ) was forced to throw up an awkward shot as time expired. The attempt fell short and Goucher escaped O'Hara Hall with a 62-59 decision.
Merchant Marine returns to the court Monday night as arch rival Coast Guard comes to Kings Point, NY.